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The injury news for the Redskins wasn't all bad

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USA Today Sports Images

The injury news for the Redskins wasn't all bad

The Redskins got some bad news on the injury front on Monday. But there certainly was some good news.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland took what appeared to be a nasty hit to his left knee in the third quarter against the 49ers. He was down on the turf in pain for a couple of minutes before leaving the game. After the game, Jay Gruden said that the initial examination was that it was an MCL injury and that an MRI would be performed.

The MRI results are back and the injury is not as serious as it first appeared. Gruden said it was a sprain and that it was possible that he would be ready to play against the Eagles on Monday night thanks to his properties that resemble those of a certain animated character.

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS 26, 49ERS 24

“I think Breeland's always been a fast healer,” said Gruden. “He's like Gumby. He took a pretty big shot on that play and I thought he was going to be out for a little bit of time. He recovers quickly.”

However, not all of the non-Jonathan Allen news was good. Kicker Dustin Hopkins has a right hip rotator muscle sprain. Gruden said that he is “week-to-week.” Going by Gruden’s past use of that phrase Hopkins will miss at least one game. Gruden said that the team would bring in kickers to try out. One will have to be signed if Hopkins can’t play.

Other injury-related news and notes:

—Gruden said that RB Rob Kelley and S Deshazor Everett will resume practice this week. Both players missed the 49ers game. Kelley has been rehabbing an ankle injury and Everett had a hamstring strain.

—Backup S Stefan McClure has a hyperextended knee and is week-to-week. This makes Everett's return very important. 

RELATED: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE REDSKINS' TOO-CLOSE WIN

—Veteran DB DeAngelo Hall is eligible to return to practice this week after spending the first six weeks on the season on the PUP list. Gruden said he might start practicing this week or next. “We want to make sure when he starts practice he's ready to start practice. We don't want to have him start out practice at 80 percent,” he said. “When he starts practice, we want him to be at 100 percent.”

—The door is not closed on CB Josh Norman being able to play on Monday night in Philadelphia. “I think there's a chance, but we'll see,” said Gruden. “That's up to the doctors and Josh and see how he's feeling. We don't want this thing to get reinjured obviously, but if he can go, I'm sure Josh will go.”

—Reserve OT Ty Nseke is still recovering from a core muscle injury and it seems unlikely that he will be able to suit up this week.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

 

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Why can't the Redskins hold onto their early leads or momentum in second halves?

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USA Today Sports Images

Why can't the Redskins hold onto their early leads or momentum in second halves?

The Redskins barely survived their game against the 49ers on Sunday for a third win in their pockets. Based on the first half, it should have been a relatively clear path to victory. But it also could have easily gone the other way, like their almost-win against the Chiefs two weeks ago, which ultimately became their second loss. 

If there was a pattern in the two games, it was the Redskins’ inability to build on early success. Against the Chiefs, they led 10-0 in the first quarter and were outscored 29-10 the rest of the way. Sunday, the lead was 17-0 with 1:51 left in the first half. but after that, they were outscored 24-9.

In fact, the Redskins have built up double-digit leads before the other team got on the scoreboard in each of their last four games. They led the Rams 13-0 and the Raiders 21-0. In three of those four games — every one except for the Raiders game — the Redskins let the opposition move into at least a tie.

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS 26, 49ERS 24

I’m old enough to remember the preseason, when there was much handwringing over the offense getting off to slow starts. In five regular season games, the Redskins have outscored the opposition by 27-7 in the first quarter and 75-40 in the first half. (Everyone should now nod and say the preseason means nothing, and everyone will remember that right up until the first preseason game of 2018 kicks off).

But the Redskins apparently can’t stand the prosperity. They have been outscored 73-42 in the second half.

If you look at the numbers, a lot of the second-half drop off is about the running game. In the first half, the Redskins have rushed for 375 yards with a strong average of 4.8 yards per carry. After intermission, they have 237 yards and an average of 3.4 per attempt. It should be noted that Jay Gruden is not abandoning the run. They have run 79 times in the first half and 70 in the second — hardly a statistically significant difference on a fairly small sample size.

RELATED: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE REDSKINS' TOO-CLOSE WIN

The Redskins also become easier to run against in the second half. Opponents have 162 yards rushing with a 3.2 average in the first half and 237 with a 4.0 average after that.

It’s not as simple as that, of course. There are moments of defensive lapses — like when coverage broke down and former Redskins receiver Aldrick Robinson was able to get wide open to catch a 45-yard touchdown pass from a scrambling C.J. Beathard, and when Alex Smith scrambled to his right and completed a pass that set up the winning field goal. The Redskins defense needs to play better in those moments.

The offense needs to perform better in the second half. That’s when the defense is supposed to be wearing down. The rushing average should go up, not down. The 49ers defense had been on the field for 68 plays when the Redskins recovered that onside kick. They should do better than three runs for six yards and a punt that gave San Francisco a last chance.

There is talk that the Redskins are a better team this year, and there are signs that they are. But if they don’t learn how to finish off their hot starts their record won’t show much improvement.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

 

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Need to Know: The 5 most important plays from Redskins' win over 49ers

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: The 5 most important plays from Redskins' win over 49ers

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 16, seven days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden news conference 3:00 p.m.

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 13
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 20
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 37

RELATED: 5 takeaways from Redskins win over 49ers

Five key moments from Redskins vs. 49ers

Kirk Cousins’ 11-yard TD pass to Josh Doctson — The Redskins got on the board first, an important thing to do when you’re a strong favorite at home. The play capped a 75-yard drive that demonstrated some offensive creativity. It was a strong start for Washington.

Recovering from second and 19 — The Redskins had another solid drive going in the second quarter when Chris Thompson got thrown for a loss of nine yards on first down. In the recent past, the Redskins might as well have punted then and there, given the odds of making the first down were extremely slim. But two Cousins passes to Jordan Reed did the trick and the drive stayed alive. It culminated in Samaje Perine’s first NFL touchdown.

D.J. Swearinger’s penalty late in the first half — The Niners found some life when rookie C.J. Beathard came into the game. He got them down near the goal line with seconds left in the first half. It was about to be fourth down and two but Swearinger drew a personal foul penalty, giving San Francisco a new set of downs. The 49ers eventually got into the end zone as the half expired. Although Pierre Garçon appeared to be taunting Montae Nicholson, who was on the ground after a collision with the ex-Redskin receiver, Swearinger said that he has to be smarter than that. He does.

Vernon Davis’ fumble and the subsequent return — The Redskins were leading by seven in the third quarter and had good field position at their own 37. Davis lost the ball fighting for some extra yardage and Jimmie Ward recovered and returned the fumble to the one. After the next play, it was a tie game. The Redskins knew they were in for a fight.

Davis’ 51-yard catch and run — The Redskins were up by just three midway through the fourth quarter. On first down at the Washington 27, Cousins hit Davis with a short pass down the season. It nearly was a carbon copy of the play in Kansas City with Davis building up a head of steam and cutting across the field all the way down to the San Francisco 22. Five plays later, Cousins kept the ball on a read option and scooted in from seven yards out to give the home team what proved to be (just barely) an insurmountable lead with 3:28 left to play.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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